Carotid artery disease is a narrowing (stenosis) or blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the brain, often due to a buildup of fatty plaque inside the arteries. A severe enough blockage may lead to a stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack.”
Carotid Artery Disease: What You Need to Know
Arteries are quite often narrowed or blocked due to atherosclerosis, when fat, cholesterol and other deposits collect on the inside of the artery walls.
Carotid artery disease may be signaled by a mini stroke, also called a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Your doctor’s goal will be to reduce your risk of stroke by reducing further plaque buildup: getting your cholesterol and blood pressure within appropriate limits. You may also be given medication to lower your risk of blood clots.
If carotid artery disease is well advanced, doctors may perform surgery to remove plaque and clots from the carotid arteries or they may insert a stent, an expanding tube that pushes open the carotid artery so blood can flow through.
If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, it’s important to go to the hospital right away. Early intervention can often improve recovery outcomes.